Ireland restrictions announced: Taoiseach says dancing will return to nightclubs – but confusion reigns as ‘protective measures’ should remain in place


Confusion reigns in the nightlife sector just three days before the reopening after the Taoiseach said dancing would “of course” be back in nightclubs.

However, the government decided this afternoon that “protective measures”, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, will also be put in place.

Nightclubs will be able to reopen from this Friday to people with a Covid pass and will now await sector-specific directives.

“There will be specific guidance for each sector over the next few days, which will be ironed out and worked out in great detail,” he said.

“Protective measures should involve masks, physical distancing, ventilation and mitigation measures. Now, if any, that’s the proper use of it all, that’s what Nphet calls them in his letter to the government.

“So there are obviously practical aspects involved in every sector,” said Martin.

He added that “obviously” people will “be able to dance in a nightclub”.

“What traditionally happens in a nightclub will continue to happen in a nightclub,” he said.

He also indicated that there may be different rules for nightclubs and pubs as they are “different sectors”.

He declined to say whether people will be able to dance on dance floors in clubs but then only need to be able to order a seated drink.

“Generally speaking, we want people to offer a drink where they are seated, but there will be specific guidelines for different sectors,” added the Taoiseach.

Tanaist Leo Varadkar said there were bound to be anomalies and said the “easiest” thing to do would be to “shut down the country” or open everything up.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said the government’s latest announcement left “more questions than answers,” with just 60 hours before the reopening.

“We are delighted to see the return of dancing, for example, but where is the logic that allows this activity but excludes the use of the bar counter? LVA’s Donall O’Keeffe said.

“Their anomalous approach to restrictions will not be practical in the real world.”

The Irish Winegrowers’ Federation (VFI) called it “another devastating day” for the pub business.

Managing Director Padraig Cribben said removing the 11:30 pm curfew is “a fig leaf” if bar counters are “off limits”.

“This restriction alone means that ads cannot operate at full capacity and will make it impossible for many of our members to continue trading, ”he said.

“We thought this crisis was coming to an end on Friday, but now we are faced with the prospect of sharply reduced trade during the busiest time of the year.

“Instead, the government has guaranteed the closure of more pubs over the next few months,” he added.


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